The M/45 Gas Mask, Gasmaske M/45E, or later Beskyttelsesmaske M/45 was an initially a Danish Military Respirator included in the 1945-50 Pattern Equipment. By the 1950s, the Danish Army had moved on from the design but it was adopted, more famously, by the Civilforsvar (Civil Defence) in the 1950s. These masks were initially Light Anti-Gas Respirators from Britain and C2s from Canada but served well into the 1960s seeing frequent maintenance and repair.
If you use this information, please credit the user/collector Baroque4Days.
M/45E - Military Use (1945 to 1949) Edit
Following the Second World War, the Danish Army abandoned their older pattern M.1938 respirators and purchased cheap Light Anti-Gas Respirators from Britain and Canada. These respirators were issued in their original haversacks, a mixture of Light I and II type carriers, and were re-designated M/45E. M/45E, in full, means Gasmaske (or just Maske) 1945 - Engelsk, or Gas Mask 1945 - English.
The M/45E respirators saw service for a mere 4 years after the war and were swiftly replaced with the M/49 respirators in, as implied by the designation, 1949. These were also issued with new kits, some of which appear to have been re-used with the paramilitary group, the Civilforsvaret, or Civil Defence Force.
Kit Content: Edit
The M/45E Kit was a slightly reduced version of the traditional P44-type British Light Anti-Gas Respirator kit, mostly following the 1943-5 style (see the WWII Period Light Anti-Gas Respirator page). This kit, however, contrary to popular belief was mostly Danish-made, besides the Respirator, Container and Haversack. The kit included the following items:
- M/45E Gas Mask (either a Light Anti-Gas Respirator or C2)
- British Light Container Mk. II (re-filled)
- British Light I or II Haversack
- 2x Protective Goggles/Eyeshields 2pcs.
- Unmarked Anti-Dimming Cloth
- Unmarked Microfibre Cloth
M/45 - Civil Defence (1950s to 70s) Edit
As the Danish Military moved onto the 1949 M/49 respirator, the leftover Light Anti-Gas Respirators were, once again, made redundant. However, it was decided that the Civil Defence could be fit with these M/45E respirators t replace the M.1938 G that was still in use with the Civil Defence. The designation of the mask seemed to change from Gasmaske M/45E to Beskyttelsesmaske M/45, or Protective Mask M/45.
British Light Mk. II Containers which were previously issued to the Danish Army from 1945 to 1949 were actually re-used and marked with the date "54" or 1954, as well as the C.F. stamp and crown to indicate that the filter was now under use by the Civilforsvar, not the Military. This is how we can tell the Respirators were in use with the Civil Defence during the 1950s. The latest date of these Respirators comes from the instructional booklet, issued with every respirator. The booklets all seem to be dated 1967, specifically in June. This likely means that earlier instructions existed, however, none have yet been found.
One of the more confusing aspects of identifying the M/45s is that they are often found to have been modified or repaired, sometimes even in multiple aspects. If a M/45E passed down from the Danish Army featured a defect, such as a broken Harness or a damaged/obsolete Valve Holder, the Danish would replace it with later parts and thus, in a way, creating functional respirators from the downtrodden leftovers of the Second World War. Typically, these repairs would involve any of the following:
- Replacement of wire & tape with metal bands (often done when replacing a Valve Holder Assembly or Container Mount)
- Valve Holder Assembly or Container Mount replacement
- Valve Holder Assembly or Container Mount re-painting (often done without removing the part, leaving paint residue on the rubber)
- Upgrade from WWII-type L1 or L2 LAG Harnesses to Post-War No. 4 Mk. 2s LAG Harnesses
- Inlet Valve replacement
- General cleaning
Danish-made M/45 Facepiece: Edit
Kit Content: Edit
The Danish M/45 Civil Defence kit is, effectively, a cut-down version of the 1943-5 Light Anti-Gas Respirator Kit used by Great Britain. As opposed to featuring the full kit, the Civil Defence kits seemed to only contain a Respirator, Filter, Haversack and the Instructions booklet. The specific content was as follows:
- M/45 Protective Mask (M/45E stamped C.F.)
- Passed-down Light Container Mk. II (stamped C.F.)
- Passed-down Light I or II Haversack (stamped C.F.)
- Vejledning i brug af Beskyttelsesmaske M/45 (Instructions for using the Protective Mask M/45)
Please note: If the M/45 Respirator was issued in the early 1950s, it is likely that the kit should contain a repurposed/refilled Light Mk. II Container. If the Respirator was issued post-1965, the kit should contain an M/65 filter from Draeger.
Here is a photograph comparing the re-filled Light Container Mk. II and the later 40mm M/65 Filtrator to British issue Light Mk. II and III Containers.
- VEJLEDNING i brug af BESKYTTELSESMASKE M/45, Juni 1967, CF-form 432 - Civilforsvarsstyrelsen (Instructions for using the Protective Mask M/45, June 1967, CF-form 432 - written by the Civil Defence Agency)
- Military Equipment of the 20th Century - https://m55q.weebly.com (many thanks to the owner of this site, I couldn't have done this without your information on the designations!)
- Photographs from the collection of Baroque4Days